Monifieth

   MONIFIETH, a parish, in the county of Forfar; including the hamlets of Barnhill and Drumsturdy-Muir, and containing 3471 inhabitants, of whom 308 are in the village of Monifieth, 6 miles (E. by N.) from Dundee. The name of this place, written in ancient records Moniefuith, Monefuit, and Monefut, is of Celtic origin, signifying "the moss of the stag," and is supposed to be descriptive of the state of a portion of the parish in former times, in connexion with the sport here carried on. A deep stratum of moss, now covered by the sandy links along the Frith of Tay, is the depositary of many stags' horns; and King David I., according to tradition, had a hunting-seat here. The Culdees were in ancient times settled at this place, and the remains of a religious edifice that belonged to them were discovered in 1812, at the time of digging the foundations of the present church. The parish at an early date consisted of the four chapelries of Monifieth, Broughty, Eglismonichty, and Kingennie, with some minor charges, all which were ultimately consolidated into one parochial benefice; and about the end of the 12th century, Gilbert, third earl of Angus, gave the church of Monifieth, with the churches of Murroes, Kirriemuir, and Strathdighty, to the abbey of Arbroath. His countess, Matilda, added the whole land on the south side of the church; and afterwards, Monifieth continued to be dependent on the abbey until the Reformation. The parish, which is of an oblong shape, is bounded on the south by the Frith of Tay, and is five miles long, and from one and a half to three and a half miles broad; comprising 6054 acres, of which 4574 are under cultivation, 926 in pasture, chiefly links, and 554 in plantations. The coast is about three and a half miles in length, and is low and sandy, without any harbour, though numerous small craft and boats run up the beech to land goods at different places, and are left dry upon the shore at the ebb of the tide. The surface gradually rises from the Tay towards the north; a ridge, partly cultivated, and partly planted, crosses it in the middle; and the lands attain at the northern extremity an elevation of 500 feet above the level of the sea. The climate is cold in the northern quarter, but mild and salubrious in the south, and the scenery is enlivened by the Dighty stream, emptying itself into the Tay, and on the banks of which are several mills and manufacturing works.
   The soil in the north rests upon a cold tilly bed, but is gradually assuming an improved character, under the process of thorough-draining; and from the eminences intersecting the middle of the district, down to the shore of the Tay, the land is rich and fertile, producing excellent and very heavy crops. Every kind of grain and the usual green crops are raised, amounting in annual average value to £28,390, of which £2800 are for wheat. Large quantities of potatoes, especially, are grown, of superior quality, and principally for the Dundee market; and dairy-farming is carried on to a considerable extent for the supply of the same place. The farms let on leases of nineteen years vary in size from 100 to 300 acres; there are many farms of less extent, and a great number of allotments of not more than five, ten, and fifteen acres each. There is scarcely any land capable of improvement remaining waste; the rent of some tracts is only about £1, but that of the best about £4, per acre. The prevailing rock in the south is whinstone; that in the north is a superior kind of stone adapted for pavement, and of which a quarry has been in operation, it is supposed, for nearly 300 years. The rateable annual value of the parish is £14,642. Grange, the ancient seat of the Durhams, has been replaced by a new mansion pleasantly situated about half a mile from the shore; the old edifice was rendered famous by the escape of Erskine of Dun, and for an attempt of the same kind, nearly successful, of the Marquess of Montrose, when on his way to Edinburgh after his capture at Assynt. Linlathen is a large structure on the banks of the Dighty; and at Laws a mansion has been recently built, in an ornamental style, commanding very fine views of the surrounding country.
   Several villages formerly existed here, comprising two of considerable size, called Cadgerton and Fyntrack or Fintry, of which no vestiges now remain. The parish at present contains those of Monifieth, Broughty-Ferry, and Drumsturdy; and another populous village is springing up, similar to that of Broughty-Ferry, in consequence of Lord Panmure having begun to let ground on building-leases of ninety-nine years, on the links of Barnhill. A few of the inhabitants are employed in weaving: the yarn is generally brought from Dundee, by persons regularly employed for that purpose, who take it to the weavers around, and carry the work back to Dundee. A spinning-mill, situated at the mouth of the Dighty, and driven partly by water and partly by steam, constantly occupies about 120 or 130 hands; and a mile further up the stream are some bleaching-works, engaging above ninety persons. A foundry, and some works for making machinery, in the village of Monifieth, give occupation to about 100 hands, producing chiefly machinery for spinning-mills; and there is also an old established cart and plough manufactory. The salmon-fishery pursued along the coast, rented at £325, returns about £740 per annum; and the value of the white-fishing, carried on chiefly by the inhabitants of Broughty-Ferry, a populous watering-place, amounts to above £5000 per annum. Haddock, cod, ling, soles, whiting, and other fish, are sent to the Dundee market. There is an establishment for curing cod, at which a considerable quantity is prepared for exportation; and the village of Broughty-Ferry also contains two rope-works, a foundry, a brewery, and the other usual establishments necessary for a large population. The fuel in general use is coal from England; but brushwood is also consumed to some extent. The turnpike-road from Dundee to Arbroath passes through the parish on the south; a mail for the north and another for the south travel on it every day; and the public road from Dundee to Brechin skirts the north-western boundary of Monifieth. The railway, also, from Dundee to Arbroath passes along the coast for three miles. A sub-post-office is established in the village of Broughty-Ferry. The principal market for the sale of produce is Dundee. A fair used to be held every half-year for cattle, horses, &c., which was of some repute.
   The parish is in the presbytery of Dundee and synod of Angus and Mearns, and in the patronage of Lord Panmure: the minister's stipend is £255, with a manse, and a glebe of four and a half acres, valued at £12. 10. per annum. The church, built in 1813, is situated at the southern extremity of the parish, on the brink of the Tay, and contains sittings for 1100 persons. A chapel, with accommodation for 720 persons, was erected in 1826 at Broughty-Ferry, and the district attached to it was in 1834 formed into a quoad sacra parish: the minister, who has £120 per annum, derived from seat-rents and collections, is elected by the male communicants. There are also in the village places of worship for the United Associate Synod and the Free Church. The parochial school affords instruction in the ordinary branches; the master has a salary of £25. 13., with a house, and about £35 fees. Two female schools, and a school for infants, are supported by Mr. Erskine, of Linlathen; and there are two schools partially endowed; also a good school in connexion with the church at Broughty-Ferry. The parish contains two public libraries and two savings' banks. There is a bequest of £100 Scots yearly, partly for poor scholars, and partly towards the poor's fund. Broughty Castle, now a ruin, situated on a rock jutting into the Tay, near the western limit of the parish, is a very ancient structure; it was garrisoned by the English after the victory at Musselburgh, 10th September, 1547, as the key commanding the river Tay, here about a mile broad. After repeated attempts to reduce it, without success, it was stormed and carried in 1550 by De Thermes, commander of the allied army of the Scots, French, and Germans, and was subsequently dismantled: all that now remains is a large square keep, used as a signal-tower by the coast-guard. Upon the hill of Laws, about the middle of the parish, are the remains of a vitrified fort; and not far from this spot is the Gallow-hill of Ethiebeaton. A little to the north of Linlathen is a large heap of stones called CairnGreg, where it is said a famous Scottish chieftain, whose name was Greg or Gregory, fell in battle. On the summit of a small knoll near Kingennie is a circle of large stones called St. Bride's ring, and supposed to have been a place of worship dedicated to St. Bride, from whom the neighbouring parish of Panbride took its name.
   See Broughty-Ferry.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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